Stanford University Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (12)
Stanford is an excellent place to get exposed to cultures from around the world and to interact with people with varying viewpoints and high intelligence.
The Master's program in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford was a good preparation for a job in the aerospace field. The academic programs provided a broad overview of many aerospace disciplines, including dynamics and controls, lightweight structures and materials, and rocket propulsion fundamentals. I thought it prepared me well for an entry level job as an engineer. However, I do think that most of the learning that is most important to my job now I got from hands-on work on extracurricular engineering projects, which taught me how to approach real-world design problems, how to quickly iterate through the test/fail/fix cycle, and how to deal with complex systems with a large group of people. I didn't take advantage of any of the many opportunities for in-depth research in any one specialty, which is certainly a primary draw of the program for many people, especially those looking to continue on to a PhD program or pursue a career in research or academia. However, I feel that if you are planning to start a career in industry as an entry level aerospace engineer, I think that this program was certainly adequate preparation, but probably not any better than many other aerospace programs at other institutions around the country.
One of the most valuable tools I gained from my studies at Stanford was a better understanding of the relationship between media and technology, as well as a better grasp of the technology tools that are most useful to members of the media. Courses in digital journalism and entrepreneurship, as well as workshops and tutorials on podcasting, basic HTML, and video editing have continued to be useful in my career as a content developer in educational technology. While I didn't end up in a career as a journalist (though I had previously worked as a journalist prior to getting my degree), I continue to produce freelance articles and consider myself part of the community, even if only as a hobby these days. However, my degree from a prestigious university directly resulted in being hired at my current position, and has lead to interviews with other high-level companies as I currently look for a new job. What I wish I had done differently: make better use of the connections I made while at school and pitch many of the in-depth articles I produced for publication outside of the university. I think I could have made better in-roads to an ultimately more satisfying job if I had taken advantage of the work I did at school in order to freelance and accept a job more closely related to my field, instead of jumping at the first full-time job offer (for fear of defaulting on student loans).
I really enjoyed the college experience. Stanford is a great school with a good mix of interesting, intelligent people from different backgrounds and with different interests. While I think my degree prepared me in some ways for my career, I ultimately think that academic study in general can't prepare you for a career in engineering, and experience working on complex problems in a professional setting is the best way to become a good engineer. Additionally, while the quality of instruction at Stanford was certainly very good, I think you can learn the same engineering fundamentals from many other quality schools that are much cheaper and/or less competitive. Ultimately, you can become just as good at your job with a degree from a "lesser" school if you still get quality work experience in your early career. To phrase it another way, if you have a choice between practicing in an internship or entry level engineering position vs. going back to school or staying in school for longer or transferring to a more prestigious school, I would suggest choosing work over school. That said, I will acknowledge that having a degree from a well-respected university can help a lot in the process of finding a job or moving to a new job. While I don't think that any particular thing I learned from Stanford has had a significant impact on my career, I do believe that having a framed piece of paper with Leland Stanford Junior's name on it certainly helped me get the job I had after graduating.
I was in the M.A. journalism program in 2008-2009. While there was a (depressing) focus on the deteriorating state of the traditional journalism industry and the rise of digital communication, there was not nearly enough practical training. While I knew that digital skills were important, there was not a single class in the program that taught HTML, CSS or any even basic coding skills. Nor were there any classes on Adobe products like InDesign (for layouts) or Fireworks/Illustrator for graphics. Our digital skills class did teach us photo slideshows and video editing, which were good skills; however, that was the breadth of the digital skills and those skills are a lot less applicable to available jobs than the skills I listed that I wish I had learned from the program.
I was probably not a great fit for the program to begin with. However, I do judge a journalism program in 2009 for not preparing me well as it could have for digital communication. I will say that you can gain a lot of those skills from electives--which I did out of my own interest in computer science--but they are not required or even particularly encouraged.
My undergraduate degree in Communications and my graduate degree electives were what provided me with actual skills that would help my career (mostly Computer Science and design skills). However, I cannot discount the value of just having an M.A. from Stanford as far as job prospects go. So while it probably did technically help my career, I would not recommend getting this degree.